Rorate Caeli

Polish Episcopal Conference
Appeal of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Warsaw

Fakt newspaper: Wielgus, the "Arch-informer"

My sacrifice, o God, is a broken spirit

The Appeal of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Warsaw
on the Eve of His Installation

Come, Holy Ghost, the light of consciences
And show us the way

Dear Brother Priests,
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the whole Warsaw Church community,

Today I stand on the threshold of the Warsaw Cathedral with a heavy dilemma of conscience, which in the recent days has become a trying ordeal, not only for me, but also for you.

The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, sent me to you as the superior of the Warsaw metropolis. I delayed the acceptance of this nomination on account of the state of my health. I also presented my life history to the Holy Father and the appropriate dicasteries of the Holy See, including this part of my past which comprised being entangled in the contacts with the secret services of the past times, operating under the conditions of a totalitarian state, hostile towards the Church. Driven by a desire to do studies important for my academic specialization, I entered this entanglement without proper prudence, courage and determination to break it off. Today I am confessing before you this mistake made by me years ago, as I confessed it to the Holy Father beforehand.

Reports of the political police of that time, coming from the National Remembrance Institute, widely published in the recent days in the media, made known to me by the Historical Commission of the Bishops Conference, speak largely about the things which were expected from me or proposed to me. They do not say, however, to what extent I submitted to these demands. They point to the fact that I strived not to carry out the orders brought forward to me. It is the task of the historians to continue clarifying this. I referred to some of the issues in my statement, handed over to the press on 5th January 2007. I do not know if the documents brought to me by the Historical Commission are the only ones, but today with a full conviction I state that I did not inform against anybody and did not attempt to harm anyone.

However, by the very fact of this entanglement, I harmed the Church.

I have harmed Her again in the recent days when, in the face of a frantic media campaign, I denied the facts of this collaboration. This has jeopardized the credibility of the people of the Church, among them – the Bishops who supported me. I know that for many of you, Brothers and Sisters, this departure from the truth is a fact not less painful than that entanglement from the years gone by.

I have prayed in the recent days, burdensome for me, to the Divine Mercy and have appealed to your belief in this Mercy, my Brothers and Sisters in Christ. I am appealing to it also today, with the words of the Psalmist, expressing the supplication of a penitent:

“Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you have no delight in sacrifice;
if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Ps 50, NRSV)

Brothers and Sisters.
I come to you, then, with a double feeling. With the joy of being called to perform the Bishop’s ministry in the Capital, being conscious of the tasks involved in the pastoral work of such a great archdiocese, with a great understanding of the spiritual and cultural capacity of Warsaw and its impact on the whole Poland.

But I also come with the awareness of the shadow which falls on my installation, commencing the assumption of the office in the Warsaw archdiocese.

I you accept me, which I request with a contrite heart, I will be a brother among you, willing to unite and not to divide, to pray and make one the people in the Church, the Church of saints and sinners, constituted by all of us.

I regard the experience of the recent days, hard both for you and for me, as an obligation to make an effort in my ministry in the Warsaw Church to extend particular kindness towards the people who are lost, put off by the Church institutions and embittered by her human shortcomings.

I declare before the Holy Father, with a complete humility, that I will submit to his every decision.

I ask Our Lady for her attention and all the faithful for their prayers for the light of the Holy Spirit for the time of a difficult beginning of my pastoral ministry among you.

Warsaw, 6th January 2007

+ Stanislaw Wielgus
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Warsaw